The museum libraries of today offer a great opportunity for scholarly research. Since the 19th-century libraries have become an integral part of the museum. Museum libraries were used to provide documentation on the objects within the specific museum and have the character of a private library. When a book collection on a specific subject has become very extensive, scholars and connoisseurs have been allowed in to research and appreciate.
The purpose of a museum-library is to view the book not only as an information-carrying device but as an object in its own right which is a mode on which thought is manifested and culture is expressed.
Today, there are fellowships for scholars inviting them to do research in museum libraries. These scholars can be experts in any field. Some eligibility requirements include being in the postgraduate level, being in residence and using the library as a mode for research.
One goal of the fellowship is to establish these library institutions as a place with good collections that can aid in scholarly studies. The Smithsonian, in particular, has a vast selection of books on every field and they hold several fellowships encouraging researchers to make use of their comprehensive collection of books.
Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL) Fellowship
The SIL hosts different fellowships with the goal of doing scholarly research on SIL’s many different libraries.
The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program
Fellows are required to give at least one public lecture during the tenure of their fellowship, and to submit a research report toward a publishable manuscript. The Smithsonian Libraries offers its fellows the rich holdings of its research collections.
- Eligibility: Post-doctoral
- Stipend: $30,000
for more information: The Margaret Henry Dabney Penick Resident Scholar Program
Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards for Scholars
The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library has an extensive selection of approximately 100,000 items focusing primarily on design and decorative arts. The Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educator awardee will have many opportunities to explore, utilize, create, and share a project that contributes to continued learning and application of the history of design in education.
- Eligibility: mid-career educators
- Stipend: $750 a week
for more information: Neville-Pribram Mid-Career Educators Awards
The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program
The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology has 10,000 rare books and manuscripts that were donated to the nation by the Burndy Library (founded by Bern Dibner). The applicants should specify in detail how they intend to use the Special Collections of the Dibner Library. The intended project must center on the use of the Dibner Library’s Special Collections.
- Eligibility: research scholars
- Stipend: $3,500 per month
for more information: The Dibner Library Resident Scholar Program
Baird Society Resident Scholar Program
The Baird Society Resident Scholar Program, funded by the many annual donors to the Smithsonian Libraries, was established to support the study of some of the Smithsonian Libraries’ most rare books and Special Collections. The collections include 19th to early 20th-century World’s Fair printed materials, Manufacturers’ commercial trade catalogs in the National Museum of American History Library, Air and space history on the study of ballooning, rocketry, and flight from the late 18th to early 20th centuries.
- Eligibility: Ph.D. level
- Stipend: $3,500 per month
for more information: Baird Society Resident Scholar Program
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